Friday night! Get out the bowls, pop the corn, put in a movie. It’s popcorn night! Well, it would be if this were Friday, and things hadn’t changed abruptly.
The day my sweetheart heard the dreaded words “Diabetes II,” we gave up Friday night popcorn, slathered in butter and stippled with Parmesan cheese. Occasionally, in the months since, had you lived next door and had a glass to the wall, you’d hear one of us whining about the loss: “I miss popcorn!” “Mmmph. Don’t even say the word.”
Last week, when I experimented with vegan “Parmesan cheese,” or cashew sprinkles, as my blogger friend Ann suggested calling it, I popped a kettle of corn just to see how they would taste on our almost forgotten snack. Sweetheart measured out a careful cup and ate slowly. I gobbled shamelessly.
How bad is popcorn?
That got me wondering. Just how bad is popcorn? After all, we buy organic. We pop our own, in a kettle. No butter-like flavoring. No chemical-laden microwave bags leaching plastics and who knows what else into our steamy/crunchy snack. I even stopped using oil in the bottom of the pan. Now I pop it with nothing but heat and a fast spinning whirly blade.
In Popcorn: The snack with even higher antioxidants levels than fruits and vegetables, Science Daily tells us that
Popcorn’s reputation as a snack food that’s actually good for health popped up a few notches today as scientists reported that it contains more of the healthful antioxidant substances called “polyphenols” than fruits and vegetables.
Polyphenols are a subgroup of those antioxidant phytochemicals we’re told come in plants and help to make them so good for us. That’s nice, right? Antioxidants keep those cancer-causing free radicals in check. What’s not to love about that?
Is popcorn better for us than we thought?
Popcorn may be full of free radical-fighting polyphenols, but it’s the carbohydrates in those snowy puffs that causes a person with diabetes to freak out. Carbs = sugar in the bloodstream. Doesn’t popcorn have way too many? Maybe not. Take a look.
Fewer carbs than we thought too
See? Popcorn’s not so bad. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, which provides a nifty food nutrition tracker at USDA SuperTracker Food-A-Pedia, two cups of air-popped corn without butter have only 12 grams of carbohydrates. Even if you add butter, which annoyingly the USDA fails to tell us how much, you get only 14 grams of carbs.
Wait a minute. Since when does butter have carbs? I checked. According to the same tracker, a full stick, or one-half cup of butter has zero carbs. What’s up with that? I found no explanation. For now, it’s a puzzle.
Butter aside, Popcorn, yes you, Popcorn, with a capital P, with your fluffy white and golden pillows that satisfy our need for crunch and soft in one glorious bite after another, welcome back.
What do you prefer–good for you, or just good?
What’s your favorite snack and how much does it matter whether it’s good for you, or just plain good?